Ombudsman wants ‘no wrong door’ to complaining after government launches Public Service Ombudsman consultation

We are calling for 'no wrong door' to complaining to make it much simpler and easier to complain about public services in England after the government announced the start of a consultation into ombudsman reform today.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Julie Mellor said:

The complaints system is too complex and confusing for people. The public should not have to work out who funds or runs the service they feel let down by and then which ombudsman service to turn to, to get a final decision on their complaint.

'That's why we very much welcome this government consultation on proposals that will end the complexity they experience when they try to complain. A unified Public Ombudsman Service will make it easier for people to get redress when things go wrong - what I call the 'no wrong door' approach to complaining. This will be better for the public, better for Parliament and provide better value for money.'

The consultation echoes many of the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman's recommendations for change, as well as those made by the Public Administration Select Committee in Time for a People's Ombudsman Service.

The consultation, which is open to the public, can be accessed from the Cabinet Office's website here and is open until the 16 June 2015.

Notes for editors

  1. Research shows four out of 10 people don't complain even though they want to and two-thirds of those don't do so because they think it won't make a difference.
  2. The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman wants to make it much more straightforward for people to complain about public services in England, and non-devolved services in the UK when things go wrong, by providing the public with a unified Ombudsman Service – just as they have in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  3. People can complain directly to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman if they have an unresolved problem about the NHS but they have to go through an MP if they have a complaint about a central government department or their agencies. The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman wants to see changes so that everyone has direct access to a new Public Service Ombudsman.